If a life event isn’t shared, did it happen?

Everyone pretty much writes their autobiography on their social media accounts without realising it.

When social media emerged in the world it was a part of peoples’ lives—ten to fifteen years on it is peoples’ lives. Every photo album of the latest family holiday, every likeable photo of a family wedding, every embarrassing drunken photo or selfie that we all know we shouldn’t post but we do anyway, every repeatedly changing  relationship status and the passive-aggressive status to someone in particular after a bad day or argument—they are the documentation of our lives.

The documentation of our lives on social media whether it’s to show off or to try and find some validity in our lives, are just as much a part of our lives as the events themselves. In fact the documentation is so much a part of our lives and expected of us when we choose to have social media accounts, that everyone expects to know everything about our lives. If there is something that people don’t know about us, it usually surprises them or pisses them off. Keeping private rather than going public is becoming less common and even slightly frowned upon, the morality of sharing personal information seems to have reversed.

This isn’t new, however it never ceases to amaze me. There is one example I came across recently that really stood out to me and is the inspiration behind this article.

Pregnancy news, ultrasounds and baby pictures are seen often on social media. However Gwendolyn Heasley chose not to share her pregnancy on her own social media accounts.

American writer, Gwendolyn Heasley recently wrote an article for the Wall Street Journal about the fact that she didn’t share her pregnancy or any pictures of her daughter on her social media accounts. She also wrote about the fact that her friends and loved ones had made comments questioning why. Her response to her friends’ and loved ones’ comments was that “we (Gwendolyn and her husband) want her to be able to write, and photograph, her own story without parental interference.”

So Gwendolyn chose not to share one chapter in her autobiography with her friends or loved ones as she wanted her daughter to eventually write her own autobiography. There are many parents I know that do share photos and posts of their childrens’ lives on Facebook and I always like the photos and posts because I genuinely like them. They are either cute/funny/adorable/heart warming. However should proud parents take a page out of Gwendolyn’s book and maybe leave a chapter of their lives and autobiographies unsaid or unpublished?

I’m not a parent so I feel that I can’t comment on the issue of sharing pregnancy news, anecdotes or baby pictures. However I think that in regards to other aspects of our social media lives such as the drunken night out, the family holidays and weddings, the changing relationship statuses and the passive-aggressive statuses, that we should probably think about pulling back on them every now and then.

Where do write your autobiography or tell your story?

We are the authors of our autobiographies on social media, we are in control, we tell the story. The story I tell on my own social media accounts is that I work a lot, I constantly question society, I’m in my last year of uni (finally), romantic relationships are a rarity, I like to make people laugh (mostly at my own expense) and overall that I love life.

What story do you tell with your social media accounts? What do you think your autobiography will tell? Feel free to comment below.

This article was originally published on Tech Reviewer on 13 May 2014 and can be found here.